So, you’ve impressed a potential employer with your CV and seized an opportunity to shine even brighter in front of them – nice work!
Preparing for an interview is an important step on your way to getting the new job you’ve hoped for and having a thorough plan will help you remain calm during the interview and set you apart from other candidates too!
Here is a list of steps we think will help you get started with your interview prep:
- If you are being put forward for the role by a Recruitment Agency, make time in your schedule to speak to the Recruiter who is supporting your application – THEY WILL BE A GOLDMINE OF RELEVANT INFORMATION, THEY WANT YOU TO SUCCEED TOO AND WILL HOLD YOUR HAND THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS IF YOU LET THEM! (There, did we say that clearly enough? 😉).
- Carefully study the job description.
- Review your qualifications and goals.
- Research the company’s organisational structure.
- If you can, practise interview questions.
- Prepare for a role-specific assessment if it forms part of the selection process.
- Think of questions for the interviewer.
- Print copies of your CV.
- Prepare travel arrangements well in advance (and maybe think of a back-up plan, just in case of emergency!).
- Plan to follow-up your interview.
Study the Job Description
Reading the Job Description carefully will help you understand what qualifications, qualities and background the employer is looking for. You can use this information to best determine which of your qualities and qualifications you want to emphasise.
Understanding the Job Description may also tell you more about the company in general and help you think of possible questions the interviewer might ask.
Review your qualifications and goals
After reminding yourself of what the employer is looking for (remember, you may have applied for a number of different roles) review your CV to identify the qualifications you provided the employer that you may need to elaborate on. You might also be asked how your professional background fits in with the job description and role expectations.
Research the company’s organisational structure
A complete understanding of the company and your potential position within it allows you to better determine how you’ll fit in with the employees, management and overall company culture. You may also be asked questions about this.
So, take a good look at the company website (About Us, History, Mission, Values, etc sections). Look at the company social media platforms and ask yourself what are they talking about online? What seems important to them? Check out any general industry news they might be sharing via press releases. Look at what professional networking platforms they use the most. Look out for anything where they are featured in national reports or industry sites. You could also look for information about employee satisfaction figures.
While researching, if you come across information about the company that you want to know more about, bring it up during your interview. The interviewer may be impressed that you thought to ask, which can demonstrate your interest.
Practice interview questions
Reviewing common interview questions is a great tool for preparing for an interview. Thinking through these questions helps you to present yourself eloquently, accurately and positively. Take note of your skills and past accomplishments and think about how you can integrate these points into your answers to prove that you can be a great addition to the company.
Common interview questions may include:
- Why do you want this job?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Prepare for industry- or role-specific evaluation
You should also be prepared for a possible test or evaluation, which the interviewer may use to see your skills at work. You should be aware of this prior to your interview of course! Remember to approach an evaluation with confidence and talk through your thought process so your interviewer can get a better idea of how you work.
Think of questions for the interviewer
Asking thoughtful questions about the position and the company can make a great first impression. Prepare several questions to ask the interviewer to show that you are interested in learning more about the company and have a thorough understanding of the position. Here are some questions you might ask:
- What’s a typical day like for a person in this position?
- What’s your favourite thing about working for this company?
- I’ve really enjoyed learning about this role. What are the next steps in the hiring process?
Print out copies of your CV
The interviewer probably has access to a digital copy of your CV already, but bringing a hard copy to the interview shows that you are prepared. Bring at least three copies for multiple interviewers, plus one for yourself to follow along.
Prepare travel arrangements
Determine where your interview is located, how long it will take to get there from your home and what mode of transportation will be the most convenient. Having your travel planned out can ensure you arrive on time; you will arrive feeling more calm than if you are in a rush and this will promote confidence during your interview.
Remember these simple pointers:
Leave home early, to mitigate against any traffic or travel disruptions.
Arriving up to 15 minutes early can demonstrate that you’re interested in the position and can plan ahead (use this time to mentally prepare, review your CV and familiarise yourself with the building).
Research the area: If you have the time, think about visiting the building where the interview will be held a few days before the date.
Think about a back-up plan in case your preferred plans go awry – maybe look at alternative routes or means of travel. If you can’t find any further information you could even contact the company and ask for more information about the area.
Save the interview contact information and then, in the event of an unexpected travel issue, you will have the interviewer’s contact details so that you can call and alert them to the problem.
Follow up your interview
A few days after the interview, send an email to your interviewer. This shows the interviewer you are still interested in the position, reminds them of your conversation together and allows you to bring up any points you forgot to mention. End the email by saying that you look forward to hearing back.
This isn’t meant to be a foolproof guide, but may help you prepare. You only get one chance to make a good first impression (isn’t that what our parents always told us?) so make sure you leave nothing to chance!
And remember the Liberty Recruitment Group golden rule – if WE are putting you forward for this role, just talk to us and we’ll move heaven and earth to help you!